To evaluate commercially developed dry solid film lubricants for aerospace bearing applications, an investigation was conducted to examine the friction and wear behavior of ion-plated lead films in sliding contact with 6-mm-diameter American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) 440C stainless steel balls. Unidirectional sliding friction experiments were conducted with a load of 5.9 N (600 g), a mean Hertzian contact pressure of 0.79 GPa (maximum Hertzian contact pressure of 1.2 GPa), and a sliding velocity of 0.2 m/s. The experiments were conducted at room temperature in three environments: ultrahigh vacuum (vacuum pressure, 7 x 10(exp -7 Pa), humid air (relative humidity, approx. 20 percent), and dry nitrogen (relative humidity, less then 1 percent). The resultant films were characterized by scanning electron microscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, and surface profilometry. Marked differences in the friction and wear of the ion-plated lead films investigated herein resulted from the environmental conditions. The main criteria for judging the performance of the ion-plated lead films were coefficient of friction and wear rate, which had to be less than 0.3 and on the order of 1(exp -6) cu mm/N.m or less, respectively. The ion-plated lead films met both criteria only in ultrahigh vacuum but failed in humid air and in dry nitrogen, where the coefficient of friction was higher than the criterion. Both the lead film wear rate and the ball wear rate met that criterion in all three environments. Adhesion and plastic deformation played important roles in the friction and wear of the ion-plated lead films in contact with 440C stainless steel balls in the three environments. All sliding involved adhesive transfer of materials: transfer of lead wear debris to the counterpart 440C stainless steel and transfer of 440C stainless steel wear debris to the counterpart lead.